Son of late PM Pierre Trudeau becomes Canada's new leader

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Justin Trudeau Elected Canada's Newest Prime Minister

TORONTO (AP) — Canadian voters reclaimed their country's liberal identity sending Justin Trudeau — the son of one of the country's most dynamic politicians — to the prime minister's office and ending nearly a decade of conservative leadership under Stephen Harper.

The victory in Monday's election by Trudeau's Liberal Party was stunning. The Liberals were on a path to win at least 184 seats out of 338 - a parliamentary majority that will allow Trudeau to govern without relying on other parties. The Liberals received 39.5 percent of the overall vote compared to 32 percent for the Conservatives and 19.6 for the New Democrats.


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Harper, one of the longest-serving Western leaders, will step down as Conservative leader, the party announced as the scope of its loss became apparent.

See photos of Trudeau and the election in Canada:

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Justin Trudeau elected Canadian prime minister
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Son of late PM Pierre Trudeau becomes Canada's new leader
Canadian Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau waves on stage in Montreal on October 20, 2015 after winning the general elections. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Canadian Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie wave on stage in Montreal on October 20, 2015 after winning the general elections. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Canadian Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau arrives on stage in Montreal on October 20, 2015 after winning the general elections. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Canadian Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie walk off stage in Montreal on October 20, 2015 after winning the general elections. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Justin Trudeau, Canada's prime minister-elect and leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, shares a moment with his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau after being elected prime minister on election night Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. Trudeau's Liberal Party swept into office with a surprise majority, ousting Prime Minister Stephen Harper and capping the biggest comeback election victory in Canadian history. Photographer: Kevin Van Paassen/Bloomerg
Supporters of Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, not pictured, celebrate as results come in on election night in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. Trudeau's Liberal Party has swept into office with a comfortable majority, tapping into voter fatigue with Prime Minister Stephen Harper by pledging more spending to stimulate Canada's sluggish economy. Photographer: Kevin Van Paassen/Bloomerg
Supporters of Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, not pictured, celebrate as results come in on election night in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. Trudeau's Liberal Party has swept into office with a comfortable majority, tapping into voter fatigue with Prime Minister Stephen Harper by pledging more spending to stimulate Canada's sluggish economy. Photographer: Kevin Van Paassen/Bloomerg
Supporters of Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, not pictured, celebrate as results come in on election night in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. Trudeau's Liberal Party has swept into office with a comfortable majority, tapping into voter fatigue with Prime Minister Stephen Harper by pledging more spending to stimulate Canada's sluggish economy. Photographer: Kevin Van Paassen/Bloomerg
Canadian Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie wave on stage in Montreal on October 20, 2015 after winning the general elections. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, Canada's prime minister, gestures during a news conference where he conceded victory on election day in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party has swept into office with a surprise majority, ousting Prime Minister Stephen Harper and capping the biggest comeback election victory in Canadian history. Photographer: Ben Nelms/Bloomerg
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, Canada's prime minister, attends a news conference where he conceded victory on election day in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party has swept into office with a surprise majority, ousting Prime Minister Stephen Harper and capping the biggest comeback election victory in Canadian history. Photographer: Ben Nelms/Bloomerg
Supporters of Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, Canada's prime minister, not pictured, watch the polls as broadcasters project a Liberal Party victory on election day in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party has swept into office with a comfortable majority, tapping into voter fatigue with Harper by pledging more spending to stimulate Canada's sluggish economy. Photographer: Ben Nelms/Bloomerg
TORONTO, CANADA - OCTOBER 19: A supporter of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper during former Finance Minister Joe Oliver's election night reception, October 19, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. Oliver lost his seat to Liberal Marco Mendicino. Canadians went to the polls on October 19th and ousted Prime Minister Stephen Harper in favour of Justin Trudeau's Liberal party. (Photo by Ian Willms/Getty Images)
People walk into voting stations on election day in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. Canadians vote Monday in a tight federal election that polls suggest will bring Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party to power, ending the decade-long run of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives. Photographer: James MacDonald/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A woman exits a voting station on election day in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. Canadians vote Monday in a tight federal election that polls suggest will bring Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party to power, ending the decade-long run of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives. Photographer: James MacDonald/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Canadian Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau waits with his son Xavier to cast his ballot in Montreal on October 19, 2015. The first of 65,000 polling stations opened Monday on Canada's Atlantic seaboard for legislative elections that pitted Prime Minister Stephen's Tories against liberal and social democratic parties. Up to 26.4 million electors are expected to vote in 338 electoral districts. Some 3.6 million already cast a ballot in advance voting a week ago, and the turnout Monday is expected to be high. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Liberal leader Justin Trudeau meets with the editorial board at the Toronto Star in Toronto. (Todd Korol/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
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Trudeau is the son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who swept to office in 1968 on a wave of support dubbed "Trudeaumania." He was prime minister until 1984 with a short interruption and remains one of the few Canadian politicians known in America, his charisma often drawing comparisons to John F. Kennedy.

Trudeau channels the star power — if not quite the political heft — of his father. Tall and trim, he is a former school teacher and member of Parliament since 2008. At 43, he becomes the second youngest prime minister in Canadian history and has been likened to Obama.

"Tonight Canada is becoming the country it was before," Trudeau told a victory rally in Montreal.

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Trudeau has re-energized the Liberal Party since its worst electoral defeat four years ago when they won just 34 seats and finished third behind the traditionally weaker New Democrat Party. Trudeau promises to raise taxes on the rich and run deficits for three years to boost government spending. He said positive politics led to his victory.

"We beat fear with hope," Trudeau said. "We beat cynicism with hard work. We beat negative, divisive politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together. Most of all we defeated the idea that Canadians should be satisfied with less."

Canada shifted to the center-right under Harper, who lowered sales and corporate taxes, avoided climate change legislation, and strongly supported the oil and gas extraction industry.

"The people are never wrong," Harper told supporters in Calgary. "The disappointment is my responsibility and mine alone."

Harper said he had called Trudeau to congratulate him.

Trudeau's opponents pilloried him as too inexperienced, but Trudeau embraced his boyish image on Election Day. Sporting jeans and a varsity letter jacket, he posed for a photo standing on the thighs of two his colleagues to make a cheerleading pyramid, his campaign plane in the backdrop with "Trudeau 2015" painted in large red letters.

"A sea of change here. We are used to high tides in Atlantic Canada. This is not what we hoped for," said Peter MacKay, a former senior Conservative cabinet minister, shortly after polls closed in Atlantic Canada.

Harper, 56, visited districts he won in the 2011 election in an attempt to hang onto them. On Saturday, he posed with Toronto's former crack-smoking mayor, Rob Ford, in a conservative suburb.


Former colleagues of Harper said he would be personally devastated to lose to a Trudeau, the liberal legacy he entered politics to destroy. Harper's long-term goal was to kill the widely entrenched notion that the Liberals — the party of Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien — are the natural party of government in Canada, and to redefine what it means to be Canadian.

Hurt when Canada entered a mild recession earlier this year, Harper made a controversy over the Islamic face veil a focus of his campaign, a decision his opponents seized on to depict him as a divisive leader.

"Canadians rejected the politics of fear and division," New Democrat leader Tom Mulcair said of Harper's Conservatives.

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Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, said Canadians rallied around the Liberals as the anti-Harper vote.

"It became not only a referendum on Mr. Harper but really a sweep for Mr. Trudeau as well," said Antonia Maioni, a political science professor at McGill University.

"A clash of values pushed Canadians to really think about what they wanted from a government and what kind of image they wanted reflected back from that government and I think that's where Mr. Trudeau's optimism and hope and idea of change captured people's imagination."

The New Democrats suffered a crushing defeat, falling to third place with 43 seats after winning official opposition status in the last election.

"I congratulated Mr. Trudeau on his exceptional achievement," Mulcair said at a rally in Montreal.

Paula Mcelhinney, 52, from Toronto, voted Liberal to get rid of Harper.

"I want to get him out, it's about time we have a new leader. It's time for a change," she said.


RELATED GALLERY: See photos of Canadians celebrating Canada Day:

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Canada Day 2015
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Son of late PM Pierre Trudeau becomes Canada's new leader
TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 1: A fan displays a Canadian flag with the Molson Canadian slogan from the upper deck on Canada Day during the Toronto Blue Jays MLB game against the Boston Red Sox on July 1, 2015 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
A character on a float gives a thumbs-up along the Canada Day parade route through Port Credit, Wednesday, July 1, 2015, in Mississauga, Ontario. The holiday celebrates the joining of provinces to create Canada in 1867. (Peter Powers/The Canadian Press via AP)
Thousands of people celebrate Canada Day on Parliament Hill, Wednesday, July 1, 2015, in Ottawa, Ontario. The holiday commemorates the joining of provinces to create Canada in 1867. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press via AP)
A man wears a Canadian flag in his hair during Canada Day celebrations, Wednesday, July 1, 2015, in Vancouver, British Columbia. The holiday commemorates the joining of provinces to create Canada in 1867. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
People are framed by a wooden Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer while attending Canada Daycelebrations, Wednesday, July 1, 2015, in Vancouver, British Columbia. The holiday commemorates the joining of provinces to create Canada in 1867. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
Adam Menzies, an instructor and performer with the Vancouver Circus School, does a flip in front of the Olympic cauldron during Canada Day celebrations, Wednesday, July 1, 2015, in Vancouver, British Columbia. The holiday commemorates the joining of provinces to create Canada in 1867. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper shakes hands as he arrives on Parliament Hill to celebrate Canada Day, Wednesday, July 1, 2015, in Ottawa, Ontario. The holiday commemorates the joining of provinces to create Canada in 1867. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press via AP)
Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police entertain the crowd during annual Canada Day parade, Wednesday, July 1, 2015, in Montreal. The parade celebrates the joining of provinces to create Canada in 1867. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
Members of the Bolivian community entertain the crowd during annual Canada Day parade, Wednesday, July 1, 2015, in Montreal. The parade celebrates the joining of provinces to create Canada in 1867. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
Members of the Falun Dafa society participate in the annual Canada Day parade, Wednesday, July 1, 2015, in Montreal. The parade celebrates the joining of provinces to create Canada in 1867. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
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